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University Libraries

Our Collections

South Caroliniana Library has four collecting areas: Manuscripts, Published Materials, University Archives and Visual Materials. The collections work together to document South Carolina and the American South.

Collecting Areas

Expand the links below to learn more about each of South Caroliniana's collecting areas. When available, collection finding aids are accessible online. Please email all reference queries to

Please note all collections are stored offsite. Advanced notification is required.

Holdings include letters, diaries and other unpublished papers of families and individuals; genealogical collections; broadsides; plantation account books; non-UofSC dissertations dealing with South Carolina history; and information collected by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) regarding folklore, local history, etc. Other holdings include records of churches, clubs and other organizations, as well as business records of small country stores, large textile mills and other concerns.

Some finding aids are available online, but many are not.

Additional description available in the publication: A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the South Caroliniana Library (1982), by Dr. Allen H. Stokes. More recent acquisitions are described in the University South Caroliniana Society’s Annual Report of Gifts, which patrons can consult in the library’s reading room.

What is NOT Here:
For wills, unpublished state and county records, schedules of the U.S. Federal Census, inventories, court minutes and other government documents, consult the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH).

Graham Duncan, Head of Collections and Curator of Manuscripts

The South Caroliniana Library collects publications written by or about the people, places and culture of South Carolina. Holdings include books, maps, pamphlets, South Carolina newspapers, sheet music, UofSC dissertations and theses, magazines and other periodicals, and vertical files of clippings and other ephemera.

Digital Collections »

View finding aids for Published Materials.

Edward Blessing, Head of User Services and Curator of Published Materials

Holdings include university records with permanent historical value from major administrative offices, such as the Board of Trustees, the President and the Provost; photographs; drawings and maps of campus buildings and grounds; and 19th-century student records. The bulk of the material is from the 20th century. Work is ongoing to describe materials in the university's online catalog.

Some finding aids are available online, but many are not.

The Archives does not hold genealogies or family histories. Objects and artifacts relating to the university's history can be found at McKissick Museum.

Elizabeth West, University Archivist

The Visual Materials collections house a variety of materials that document the people, places and culture of South Carolina. There are three major areas:

  • Architectural records
  • Artwork
  • Photographs and postcards

Work is ongoing to describe materials in the university's online catalog. Most of the photographic materials are part of this catalog, but records for the architectural records and a significant portion of the artwork are not yet available.

Finding aids for the larger collections are available.

Beth Bilderback, Visual Materials Archivist


Permissions and Copyright

Guidelines regarding permissions and copyright for researchers intending to publish work based on the library's collections. 

  • The South Caroliniana Library may grant permission for the exhibition, broadcast or publication of unrestricted collection materials.
  • Any permission granted by the library will fully comply with the limitations and strictures imposed by the donor of the materials.
  • This permission is valid only insofar as the University of South Carolina, as owner or custodian of the material, has any rights in the matter. This permission does not remove the responsibility of the author, editor, publisher or broadcaster to guard against infringement of any rights, including copyright that may be held by others.
  • Receipt of a permission letter does not grant, convey or imply an exclusive right to use a particular manuscript item. In every instance, the university fully retains its own right to publish material and reserves its right to authorize others to do so.
  • Granting of permission is contingent upon assurance that the material will be properly cited and identified as being a part of the collections of the South Caroliniana Library.
  • To obtain permission, you must submit a written description of the specific materials that you wish to use as well as a brief description of the manner in which these materials will be reproduced, exhibited, broadcast or published.
  • A use fee may be assessed at the time permission is granted.
  • Submitted contracts or publisher-generated permission forms will not be signed by library staff or other library representatives. Permission to publish will be recorded in a letter composed by the library staff.
  • The library requests two complimentary copies, best edition, of all publications that rely heavily on its collections.
  • The library reserves the right to refuse to grant permission to publish.

U.S. Copyright law governs the making and use of most photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Most manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and moving images created in the past 120 years are protected under copyright law. Transmission, reproduction, publication or presentation (public display, performance, internet presentation) of protected items require the permission of the copyright owners.

For more information on copyright, contact the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright status and information on copyright holders can be difficult to determine for archival and manuscript collections. The responsibility for obtaining permissions rests with the researcher.

Manuscript collections and archival records that include 20th- and 21st-century materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations and the South Carolina Public Records Act (S.C.C.L. Section 30 1 et seq.) Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of South Carolina assumes no responsibility.

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